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W C Greene
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A few years ago, one of the local Freerail-ers-Bobby B, showed me his way of making prickly pear cactus. Bobby used some unusual (for then) hole punches that he bought from the "scrapbooking" area of the local Hobby Lobby and punched some green paper. He then used the punch-outs (a teardrop, a heart, and some other thing) and glued them together in a way that resembled the cactus. These were impressive since the RTR cactus (Plastruct, Woodland Scenics) were very costly and I was modeling an O scale narrow gauge line then. The punch-outs were pretty much HO or O scale size...a bit small for my 1:35 scale efforts.
I lost track of Bobby over the years but always remembered his cactus. Modeling the SW USA, cactus of this variety is seen almost everywhere and not just one plant here & there...LOTS of plants all over the place!
Recently, I was at a new Hobby Lobby with Pam & Barb (they love the place and secretly so do I) and I saw some punches that appeared to be larger than the others and they were discounted 40% to boot! So, I bought 3 different punches and some various green textured heavy paper (also on sale!). Here is a photo "show" on the cactus project:



The punches are very simple to use and I suppose that they will last through several layouts of desert and cactus building.



Here's what the punchings look like. Of particular note-the "baby footprints" which can be modified with scissors or sharp Exacto blades to resemble the cactus paddles. The "laurel leaves" parts can be cut apart and glued on to look like the "prickly pear" flowers or maybe new cactus growth on the large paddles (the large cactus leaves are sometimes called paddles).



The cactus plants are glued together with white glue (which has been sitting for a bit to become tackier and thicker) and are glued to small bits of styrofoam which have been carved up to look like the way the cactus plants tend to grow on the older, dead plants and appear to be on small "mounds". The "pears" are drops of the glue mixed with either red or maroon acrylic paint and look like the real things. You know, a wonderful jelly can be made from the "pears", it is very sweet and a deep maroon color. No, the tiny spikes or thorns are NOT in the jelly. That's another story-how "prickly pear jelly"is made...



And here is the finished product on the layout. As you can see, the plants are pretty much sized for my scale and would work in O scale or as large ones in S and HO.
Now, why would I want to slave over making cactus when all I would need to do is buy some already made and be done with it? Well, since the real things grow in large "clumps" with many "paddles", I would still need to glue a bunch of commercial products together and how much would you think these 3 clusters would cost if I used RTR cactus?
Besides, what else do I have to do these days but make fiddly cactus?
I still need to "plant" some field grass and other greenery close by but right now, I am very happy with how it is going.

Woodie

Ken C
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Woodie

Looks like a good way to keep busy, while watching the TV.
I am working on stock piling corrugated sheeting for future modeling myself. Along with the odd Rum and Coffee!

Ken C
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Steven B
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Wow!  :mex:
Those are great!  The Mexicans in California in the early days planted prickly pears all over.  Your plants are very, very cool.  I love outside the box thinking, these fixed budgets for railroads are tough!

Si.
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Howdy Woodie :cb:



WOW !


The leafy styleee paper punches are a really  C :cool: :cool: L  idea !!

They look great.


I guess your guy isn't there admiring the view though.

Probably gonna chop 'em down for his distilling operation ... right ? ;)



:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: :moose:



Si.

slateworks
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Yet another entry in my "scrap book of Woodie's ideas" for future reference thanks.

W C Greene
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Thanks guys. Nope, they don't have teeny little spikes all over them but then there ARE spike-less cactus plants. My old neighborhood had several spikeless cactus plants...probably to keep the upwardly mobile types from sticking themselves! I figger that if I try to make one a day, by 2092 I will have enough to look like what I want. Making a stand of prickly pears takes maybe 30 to 40 minutes and I don't have a tv to watch in the workshop. Besides, I probably couldn't (or wouldn't) make them if I was looking at NCIS or something else.

Bob R
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Looking great Woodie - as usual.
There are many different "scrap booking" punches at that great store.  Others that work well are snowflakes and various flowers.  I layer a couple offsetting the leaves on a pin and apply a drop of thin CA.  Then I paint with acrylic artists paint.  Helps to add texture as well as color variations.

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Last edited on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 09:59 pm by Bob R

Michael M
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Bob,

Are those grapes that you're hauling in that car?  Looks great!

Bob R
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Yes they are and thank you for noticing.  I spent a bit of time making them for my 2' x 4' display layout "Iron Horse Vineyard".  It usually just lingers in the basement now.

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Bob R
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In addition to the crates of grapes being hauled to the winery, there are bunches in the vineyard.  Was a fun build.

Attachment: IMG_3351.JPG (Downloaded 38 times)

Michael M
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Bob,

Now you're just gonna have to disclose how you made those grape clusters.  I could see several crates being shipping on my rail line.

Bob R
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You will laugh....   They were easy to make.  I used a bottle of multi colored cupcake sprinkles!  I laid out a piece of waxed paper and made little puddles of Elmers glue and put the spinkles on them.  I formed them to the shape of a bunch.  When dry I removed them, flipped them over and added more to the back to get the full shape.  For the crates I made  little balsa blocks to fit inside and covered them with glue and sprinkles.  I painted them with either Model Masters or Testors enamel ( I don't recall for certain).  Amazingly, the color variations of the colored sprinkles made the grapes look very natural.  Added some paper leaves.  Now sprinkles are basically just coated sugar.  They are over five years old and have been to many shows etc and have not deteriorated.  I think the glue and paint sealed them well.

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W C Greene
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Howdy Bob... Man, those grapes look good enough to eat! Really imaginative idea. I have used stuff from the spice aisle at the grocery store such as peppercorns painted to look like melons and my favorite...caraway seeds look like peppers and when painted green or red and glued to a piece of fine wire resemble the dried pepper bunches hanging off porches and elsewhere in the Southwest US. I am sure there are more uses for such stuff besides being tasty spices.

Woodie

Michael M
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Bob,

Thanks for the info.  You're right they do sound simple to make once you explained how.  Never would have thought of cupcake sprinkles.

And, guess what I just found in one of the kitchen cupboards...round sprinkles!  Hope the wife doesn't catch me.


Just imagine what 'sprinkles' would cost if it was labeled as model railroad scenery!


I think we hijacked Woodie's thread...hope he doesn't mind.

Last edited on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 09:17 pm by Michael M

Bob R
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Agree Woodie.....my spice shelf became a vegetable stand on French "Old World Charm" layout.

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Last edited on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 11:33 pm by Bob R

Michael M
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Very cool the vineyard. :2t:

Started on some grape bunches tonight.  A little warning...use a tray so that the sprinkles do get all over the place.  Those little balls will roll pretty good.  I used one of those styrofoam trays that your meat comes in.


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